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Remote Theory Exams FAQ

Please read through our answers to some frequently asked question about how Remote Theory Exams work, as well as changes being implemented in the examination process due to social distancing requirements. This FAQ is related to Theory Levels 5 to 8 and History Levels 9 to ARCT, but not Harmony, Harmony/Counterpoint or Analysis. Please consult this page regularly, as we will keep updating the information as new questions come in and further clarifications are made. 

  • Why are Theory/History Exams not taking place in person?
    As ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 continues, the safety of our RCM students, parents, and teachers remains a priority. As a result, all August Session practical and theory exams will be completed online. This decision will ensure that students are able to continue with their music education and complete their exams as planned.

    Please review this page for specifics regarding what is happening for your subject and level.
  • When will I have access to the online study guides, courses and exams? When do I have to do the tests and/or exams?
    Access will be provided on August 4, 2020 and an email with additional details will be sent that day. 

    You will have one year to complete your exam, but those candidates who wish to be considered for academic credit, graduation or Gold Medal consideration for the 2021 academic year will need to submit their exam no later than August 4, 2021.  
  • I can't access my theory exam/I need a password reset

    Please email [email protected] with your first and last name, RCM number (starts with 2 numbers and a letter) or exam confirmation number (starts with a 4), and exam name and level.

  • I am a student, how do I login to access the online study guides, courses or exams?

    If you are registered for Theory 5 to 8 or History 9 to ARCT, an email will be sent to you on August 4, 2020 with information on how to access the course.  If you have never used the RCM’s Online Learning Ecosystem, this email will also contain your username and password as well as a link for accessing the login page. 

    If you have already used the RCM’s Online Learning Ecosystem, you can sign-in using your existing username and password to access your exam on August 4, 2020.

    The courses/exams will also appear in your RCM portal in “My Courses, Learning and Resources” in the “My Learning” section by August 4.

    Watch these resources ahead of August 4 for more information about your exam/course/study guide and how to access them.

  • I am a teacher, how do I login to access the online study guides?

    If you are not an RCM Certified Teacher, in exchange for free access to these resources, please ensure that you have agreed to be added to the RCM National Music Teacher Directory as follows:

    1. Go to My RCM
    2. Log in to your account or follow the steps to create one
    3. Under “My Teaching” click on “My RCM Teacher Directory Listing”
    4. The answer to the question “Would you like to be added to the RCM National Music Teacher Directory” should be “Yes”.  If it is not, then click “Yes” and complete and submit the remainder of the form.  You can follow these instructions for more details on how to complete this step.

    These steps will ensure that you have auditor access to the online Theory study guides the day after you have opted in to the Directory.  You will have access to these materials until August 31, 2020 or until you withdraw your listing from the Teacher Directory.

    If you are currently an RCM Certified Teacher, you already have access to the study guides as an auditor through your RCM portal and will continue to have access for as long as you are certified. Auditor access does not include the exam or mock exams. You can learn more about the online study guide in the Teacher Portal.

  • How will proctoring work? Will I still receive my credit and certificate?

    In-person proctoring for Theory Levels 5 - 8 and History 9 - ARCT will be replaced during this period by online monitoring. Credits and certificates will be awarded following the normal procedures. Nonetheless, for extra reassurance and peace of mind, if you wish, a parent in the household may sign on as a proctor by submitting this form. This is optional and not a requirement for receiving credits and certificates.  There is no Zoom or other videoconferencing supervision during the exam.

    Advanced Theory (Harmony, Counterpoint, Analysis) exams and all Speech Arts Theory and History exams will be conducted via a Zoom classroom with an online proctor.  More information to follow on July 20, 2020.

  • Are the online exams open book exams? Can we use notes, a keyboard diagram, or the piano?

    Just like the paper exams, these online exams are not “open book” exams.  As such, please refrain from using notes or the piano. As with in-person written examinations, a keyboard diagram for reference during Theory Level 5 to 8 exams is permitted.

    You may use rough paper to make notes to help you answer questions after you begin the tests or exams. For instance, in Music Theory, you may draw a circle of fifths diagram before beginning to answer your questions.

    Please note that the test and exam time limits do not allow for spending time searching online for answers or consulting notes. Doing so may lead to not having enough time to complete all the questions in the exams.

  • How do the Music Theory Levels 5 to 8 unit tests and final exam take place? Do I have to complete them all in one sitting?

    The Theory Level 5 to 8 courses include 8 unit tests worth 5% each, for a total of 40%, and a final exam worth 60%.

    All unit tests and exams have corresponding practice tests to allow you to get used to the question types and test procedures. We recommend that you do these practice tests at your own pace over several days as appropriate, before attempting the graded unit tests and final exams.

    You may do the unit tests in any order you wish at any time between August 4, 2020 and July 30, 2021. You do not have to complete them all in one sitting. For instance, you can complete the first unit test on one day but choose to do the next one three days later.

    You can decide to focus on one unit at a time, doing the practice test followed by the unit test, or you can explore different practice tests before deciding to go ahead with a specific unit test.

    In order to have access to the practice final exam and graded final exam, you will have to first complete all your unit tests.

    Please watch these videos to help you prepare for your exam.

  • What happens if I run out of time? Can I revisit questions?

    If you run out of time during an exam, your test or exam will be automatically submitted along with all the answers entered up to that point.

    After completing a certain question, you may revisit it to review it or change your answer.

  • What will the online exams cover? Do I have to study new or different material?

    All the online unit tests and examinations are based on the Theory Syllabus, 2016 Edition.   No additional material beyond the syllabus requirements is included on the tests or exams.

  • How can I work with my teacher for preparing for my Music Theory Unit tests and exams? How do I share my results with my teacher?

    We recommend using Zoom (or any other screen sharing solution) to complete practice tests together and/or discuss practice test results.

    If you answer a practice test question incorrectly, a hint is provided. You may take a note or a screenshot of instances where you required the use of a hint, and further discuss your understanding with your teacher. Every time you complete a practice test, your score is archived and your practice test score history may be consulted at any time afterwards That way you can see your improvement and progress over the course of all your attempts.

  • Will I see what I got wrong in the final Music Theory exam? When will I see my grade?

    Upon submitting your final Theory exam, you will immediately see your score as well as what you answered and whether it was correct. Your final grade will update in the MyRCM portal within 24 hours. However, the completed examination will not be returned to you as a PDF, as they are with written examinations.

  • Do I have to pay an extra fee for accessing the online counterpart of my paper exam?

    No, if you have already registered for the August 2020 exam session, you will receive access to the online study guide and/or course (where applicable) and exam at no extra cost.

  • Will the Music Theory Levels 5-8 tests and exams be available in French?

    Yes, the instructions, questions and the answer options will have French translations provided next to the English text.  

  • How are accessibility issues being addressed?

    If you have accessibility or special needs that need to be accommodated, please complete this form.  

  • My internet connection is “spotty” what if I can’t complete the exam?

    The online exams load easily even with a “spotty” connection. During the last 5 years of online exams, very few connectivity issues have arisen, therefore it is unlikely that you will be unable to complete an exam. If you do find yourself in such a situation, please fill out this form. The system records when an exam attempt was started, so we will be able to troubleshoot the situation and, if needed, reset the attempt. 

    If your internet connection returns, simply refresh you page, or navigate back to the test/exam to continue. The questions you had entered up to the last minute before the interruption will be saved.

  • Will I have to write notes on a staff online for the Music Theory online exams?

    The online Music Theory exams do not require writing notes on a staff. The questions are in multiple choice format. For example, you will be asked to identify a note, chord or a scale by selecting the correct option from a list. Alternatively, you may also be asked to identify the best answer to a musical question by selecting it from a set of possible solutions written in staff notation.

  • Will I have to use the Music Theory Apps for completing the online exam process?

    No, the use of the music theory apps is not necessary for preparing or for completing the online exam process for Music Theory Levels 5 to 8. The Apps are additional tools to help support you in your practice if you are looking for further drills to strengthen your knowledge of theory concepts.   

  • What about the essay writing questions in History exams?

    You will be able to type the answers to your essay questions in the online exam.   For more information regarding the online History exams, please review the videos found here.

  • I can’t take my exam remotely, what should I do?

    This page indicates the General and Specific Conditions for each Theory subject in which a remote examination may take place.  If you do not meet all of these conditions, please submit this form to request a full credit that will be valid until August 2021. 

  • Can I still register for the August session?

    Because the August 2020 session has been switched from in-person to online and due to the additional $65 handling fee that would normally be charged for late registration, we are not offering Late Registration for the August session for Theory Levels 5 - 8 or History 9 - ARCT since these can be purchased directly online.  Theory study guide with exam can be purchased here while the History course with exam or exam only can be purchased here.

    Late Registration for Advanced Theory (Harmony, Counterpoint, Analysis) and all Speech Arts subjects has ended and the form is closed.

  • When can I expect my exam results?

    Practical examination results, which include a copy of the examination form, are generally available four to six weeks after the examination has taken place. Theory examination results are generally available six weeks after the examination. Students are then able to view their graded paper online. Scans of the theory papers will be available eight to ten weeks after the date of the examination.

    For instructions on where to find your mark in your My RCM account, click here.